The quote by Alexander Pope, “To err is human, to forgive is divine,” is popular among people and is often used in different situations. However, some mistakes will not be forgiven. One of such is mistakes that cannot be forgiven are mistakes in a book. As an author, certain mistakes seem so negligible and you may not even know they are mistakes. However, they can reduce the quality of your book, limiting the impact it should make on the readers.
Here are five costly mistakes nonfiction writers make.
- Using Either Unorganized or Overly Sophisticated Title: One factor that will either push or pull your potential readers is the title of your book. Although you are advised to use a catchy title, ensure that your title is brief, understandable, and well organized. Avoid overly sophisticated or complex titles that will make using a dictionary necessary. For instance, ‘The metamorphosis’ as a title is complex and vague unless it is the title of an academic book. However, using a title like ‘The change’ will be much appreciated if it is a self-help book.
- Using Unpolished or Complex Vocabulary: You should have in mind that you are writing for your readers and not for yourself, and you must write for them to understand. No matter how interesting and educative your book is, if it’s not understandable, especially from the introduction, there’s a 90 percent possibility that your book will be abandoned. Therefore, use well-structured sentences to convey your message in simple language and avoid the use of slang except with a reported speech.
- Doing Little or No Research: For one to write a book that is worthy of a reader’s attention, intensive research is crucial. When you are set to write a biography or a research article, the content should be 99% research-based. In self-help books, research is crucial because before you call something a principle, it must be tested and proven by at least five to 10 persons. If you rely on your understanding or limited knowledge and call something a principle, you will shoot yourself in the leg.
- Absence of a Well-constructed Biography Behind the Book: One of the first things readers check before purchasing a book is the back cover, which carries the author’s biography. Your biography should contain vital information and should be well-structured too. You should organize it in this manner:
Introduction (your name and what you do)
Qualification (educational qualification)
Achievement (awards, feats such as intellectual property owned, speaking engagement)
An example would be, “Jude Hills is an internationally recognized leadership expert and a business consultant. He exposes hidden business secrets that promote sales and bring about expansion to business owners. Jude Hills holds an M.B.A from Harvard, a doctorate from Brigham Young University, and is a member of… He is the author of several acclaimed books, including the ‘ 9 rules in leadership’ which have been at the top of the bestseller list for over five years. He has received many awards and…. Jude, his wife, Adriel, and his family live in Ohio.
Note: The information stated above is an illustration. Hence the names and locations used are fictional.
- Lack of Authenticity: Readers can determine your personality from your writing. Somehow, they can figure out when you are trying to be fake instead of being original. Originality is topnotch,
Odilichukwu Juliet Nwankwo is a mindset restructuring coach and a creative content writer. She helps restructure outdated thought patterns that can destroy destiny amongst youth, especially for greater productivity using mind-blowing content. She also writes well-constructed content for blogs,
magazines and helps busy managers and CEOs who, despite their busy schedules,
long to own intellectual property.
Juliet can be contacted via;
WhatsApp via 08146392720.
Check out our previous post on FIVE TIPS FOR WRITING NONFICTION